If you’re grinding your teeth nightly, you’re not alone. Also known as bruxism, teeth grinding is a condition that affects about 10% of individuals. It may be due to stress, bite issues, missing teeth, or even sleep apnea. Whatever the reason, it can be a very harmful condition. While occasional grinding isn’t usually an issue, doing it every single night can lead to many different issues down the road.
While teeth are relatively strong, they can still be worn down, especially by grinding them. Enamel is what protects your teeth, so shaving it off by grinding can become very problematic. It can also make your teeth loose and weak, and makes it easier for them to decay. Over time, if the grinding becomes consistent or severe enough, it can wear teeth down to become virtually stubs.
Teeth grinding may cause you to experience headaches, earaches, small bites or lesions on your cheek or tongue, and tooth and jaw pain. Grinding down on your teeth makes your jaw muscles work all night and can cause your jaw to lock up, experience strange clicking noises or feelings, or even restrict the range of motion your jaw has. If you wake up with a sore jaw, it’s most likely a sign you’ve been grinding your teeth.
If you’re experiencing severe pain, you may have TMJ, or temporomandibular joint dysfunction. When you grind your teeth, your joints become misaligned, which causes overstimulation and pain in the joints. For this reason, it’s not uncommon for bruxism and TMJ to go hand in hand.
Causes Need for Dental Treatments
If your teeth grinding becomes serious enough and has caused significant damage, you may need to receive crowns, bridges, implants, or veneers. Bad teeth grinding can cause tooth damage bad enough that can’t be fixed on its own or reversed, therefore causing the need for treatment.
Can Change Your Bite
Since grinding your teeth involves consistent and pressureful movement from your jaw, it’s possible for grinding to change your bite, leading to the possibility of an over or underbite. This could even change the shape of your mouth and face overall, if the grinding is severe and consistent enough.
Schedule an Appointment Today
There are many treatments for bruxism in order to prevent any severe issues with your teeth or overall health, such as using a mouth guard or taking muscle relaxants. Taking the right steps can help stop the grinding so none of the deteriorating effects take place. While it’s possible that you grind your teeth without any harmful side effects from occurring, there’s always a chance that it can cause damage.
Stop problems from happening by preventing them in the first place with an appointment at our family dentist in Evanston. With many different treatment options to choose from, our dentist will help pick the right one for you. Make an appointment today to discuss your teeth grinding!